retroity

What's going on?

Alright, it's been a while since I've posted here, and so I think a few updates are in order. This post will be split into two sections: What's going on with Retroity.net specifically, and also what's going on with me in general (and why I've been so inactive in so many places).

What's going on with Retroity.net?

So after a brief stint on NearlyFreeSpeech I've decided to move to a new host: Posthaven! Posthaven is a blogging platform and host with an incredibly simple business model: they keep your site running as long as you're willing to pay for it. For this reason, Posthaven is designed to last long and be sustainable. I've been wanting to move Retroity.net to a blogging platform for a while now (as I've come to find having to write static HTML to be a bit annoying, and I just want to focus on writing), so Posthaven was the perfect choice for me. Unfortunately, this also means that a lot of links have broken, and some stuff isn't available anymore. I'm sorry if this inconveniences anyone, and I'll look into solutions for releasing most of it elsewhere.

However, this means that this is also a (semi) fresh start for Retroity.net! I'm going to try writing more regularly. I'll be primarily writing about my opinions about the tech and games industries. I'll try to write at least once a week but hopefully daily. I hope you enjoy!

What's going on with me? (and the future of my content)

Alright, so it's no secret that I haven't exactly been the most active. It's been a little over 3 months since I last wrote here, and about 2 months since I last uploaded on my YouTube channel. The most active places I've been are Twitter, Reddit, and Discord. So what's been going on? Well a number of things. First, I've been focusing on stuff going on in my personal life. As I'm getting older, I have more and more responsibilities and things to prepare for. I've also come to moderate several Discord servers, so I've been doing that. But the primary reason has largely been motivation. For the past 2 years, I've largely struggled with motivating myself. I have no idea what it is. I don't know if it's depression, or if it's extreme writer's block, or if it's just me being lazy. I don't know. But, I'm gonna make an honest-to-god effort to be more active in the future, and that's starting with this blog.

I'm hoping that with this blog, I can ideally forcefully jumpstart my motivation to create. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't. We'll have to see. Either way, I'm excited to write here more.

Thank you to everyone for everything. Hopefully I'll be better about actually making things soon.

Retroity.net is Moving Hosts

NOTE: This is kinda outdated. I'm on posthaven now.

In the next 24 hours, Retroity.net will be leaving Neocities and will be moving to NearlyFreeSpeech.net as a web host. I’ve largely made this decision to move hosts for two reasons. First is that I’m generally dissatisfied with the management of Neocities, with site updates being few and far between and several features (IPFS being a notable one) not working. I’d rather use a host that is actively maintained. Secondly is that I want to have more control over my site, and not be limited solely to static sites. I’ve been looking at options for rebuilding Retroity.net in a static site generator or some sort of CMS.

Despite this, I still respect Neocities and its community. Neocities is a wonderful service and has helped me discover a passion for web design. Its community is also amazingly creative and talented. Thank you to Neocities for providing such a wonderful service.


Nintendo Finally Gives Up It's Rediculous Let's Play Policy

Yesterday Nintendo made the sudden announcement that they were giving up on the Nintendo Creators Program and were instead making it easier for online content creators to monetize their videos/livestreams. This is definitely a step in the right direction and I commend Nintendo for the change.

For reference on how Nintendo previously treated online content creators, Nintendo initially started lobbing Content ID claims at any YouTube channel that uploaded Nintendo content, taking all the revenue. Eventually, Nintendo announced the Nintendo Creators Program, where Nintendo would give 60% of videos claimed provided they met a number of guidelines, including no livestreaming, no mods, cheats, or TAS, and only playing a list of approved Nintendo games. It could also take 3 days for videos to be approved. This lead to many online content creators openly speaking out against Nintendo, and subsequently refusing to cover any Nintendo games.

Now regarding the new policy, from what I'm able to tell, this new policy is far more lenient with what you're allowed to do, and for the most part it seems reasonable. However, this turn is very strange. It's a complete 180 from a company that was just a few days ago cracking down on YouTubers left and right. What changed? Was newly promoted Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa responsible for this decision at all, considering he's quite a bit younger than many other higher ups at Nintendo? Was this a decision related to the ever-closer release of Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, and Nintendo wanting to support a vibrant community of content creators? Did Nintendo realize that online content creators such as YouTubers and Twitch streamers can help bring positive press to their games? Was it a mixture of these reasons, or any others? We probably won't ever know.

Still, despite any past abuses and questions about why this change is being made, I'm glad Nintendo is going to stop being so aggressive towards online content creators.


Made By Google 2018 Event Thoughts

Google held their 2018 Made By Google hardware event today, and we pretty much knew everything that was being announced well before the event took place or was even announced. (Despite Google claiming that there was something unexpected, there really wasn't) Regardless, here's my thoughts on everything announced at the event.

Pixel 3 / Pixel 3 XL

There are a number of things wrong with the Pixel 3, especially with the Pixel 3 XL. The camera appears to be the biggest change, and there's actually some cool features there, with the way that it appears to handle low-light shots, or features such as Top Shot or Photobooth. As for the new "not pink" color, I have mixed feelings on it. It looks ok. That's where my positive feelings end though. The Pixel 3 XL is an incredibly ugly design, with a long, deep notch combined with a somewhat sizeable bottom bezel. This large, deep notch that cuts into the display significantly and leaves little room for little notifications sharply contrasts with the thoughtful notch design of the iPhone X and demonstrates Google not understanding why the notch is there (which is to allow for a bezeless display while having a place to store sensors) and only including it because it's a trend. On the other hand, the (non-XL) Pixel 3 looks fine. It has relatively thin bezels (which is what the Pixel 3 XL should've done), and although the bezels on the Pixel 3 are not as thin as I would've liked, they're acceptable.

The biggest problem the Pixel 3 is going to run into however is pricing. In the US, the Pixel 3 starts at $799. I can get a 128GB iPhone XR for $50 less, or a 128GB Samsung Galaxy S9+ for $10 less. The Pixel 3 XL starts at $899. I can get a 256GB Samsung Galaxy S9+ for $30 less, or a 256GB iPhone XR for the same price. For the same price as a 128GB Pixel 3 (the highest option you can get) I can get a 128GB Galaxy Note 9 or a base level 5.8 inch iPhone XS for the same price. See the pattern here? I can get much more popular (and arguably better) phones for the same price or less. So why would someone at a Verizon store buy a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL over the iPhones or Samsung devices that I mentioned? That's the biggest problem I feel with the Pixel 3. It's way too overpriced for what it is, and it's going to turn a lot of people away from buying a Pixel 3. I feel like it would be a more competitive choice if it had a starting price of something like $650.

Pixel Stand

The Pixel Stand actually seems like a pretty neat device. It's a wireless charging stand for the Pixel 3 that also turns it into a Google Assistant device that can display your calendar, the time, etc. I forsee the Pixel Stand being pretty useful and thus being a "must buy" accessory for Pixel 3 owners.

Home Hub

The Google Home Hub was without a doubt the most exciting item at the event for me. It's essentially a Google Home with a touchscreen, so it can show you things as you're asking for it. It apparently is also designed to serve as a hub for your smart home, judging not only by how much Google focused on the smart home when talking about this thing, but also the fact that you can swipe down from the bottom to see all of your smart home devices. It also allows you to view the video feeds of your Nest Hello doorbells, or your Nest Cameras, which I could see being a useful security feature The most exciting feature for me, however, is the cooking feature, where it can show you how to make this a recipe as you go. I forsee this being a killer feature for a lot of people. The pricing isn't bad either, as at $150, it undercut's Amazon's 2nd generation Echo Show, which has a pricetag of $230. I honestly see the Home Hub being the device that sells the best.

Pixel Slate

The Pixel Slate is a very interesting device, as it's basically a tablet counterpart to the Pixelbook. That's why the keyboard is seperate. What's even more interesting is that this is a tablet running Chrome OS, which to me kinda signals that Google believes that Android tablets are well and truely dead. I have mixed feelings on the Pixel Slate. As a tablet, it seems pretty good, although it's overpriced for the specs, as I can get a max-spec Microsoft Surface Go for $50 less (and with the surface type cover, its $120 less than the Pixel Slate with it's keyboard) or a 9.7 inch 128GB iPad with Cellular for $50 less. Combined with the fact that it has no headphone jack (apparently to "follow trends", which is the actual justification Google gave) and I don't really see any justification to purchase it.

Updated Chromecast

Not really mentioned was the 3rd Generation Chromecast refresh. It has a design much more in line with Google's other devices, support for 60 FPS 1080P video, the ability to play music in sync with other Google devices much like a Chromecast audio, and (probably, not officially confirmed yet) faster Wi-Fi. But besides that, there really isn't much changed. It's still $35. It still doesn't have the ability to play 4K video (you'll still need the Chromecast Ultra to do that) It remains a compelling cheap streaming device. If you already have a 2nd Generation Chromecast, there's no reason to upgrade. However, if you've been looking at buying a Chromecast, now's the time.

Overall, the event was mediocre in terms of what was announced. There was some cool stuff in there such as the Home Hub, but many devices, such as the Pixel 3 or Pixel Slate, will have a hard time competing in their respective categories.


E3 2018 Thoughts: Nintendo

So... That was interesting.

So nintendo's conference began with a look at some 3rd party games, which look pretty cool. I like those. We got a new Mario Party game with Super Mario Party, which I'm very happy about, seeing as the cars in Mario Party has always been a terrible idea in my view, and so I'm glad that we're seeing a return to a style where everyone moves independently.

Then, Smash. The Smash title announced at the Nintendo direct is now Smash Bros. Ultimate. It honestly looks amazing, with them bringing back every single Smash character frome every single game, tons of tweaks, new stages, and much more. I can't wait to play it in december.

Additionally, during the Splatoon World Championship, it was announced that the previously revealed Splatoon Octo Expansion would be coming tomorrow night (the day after this post is made) and I seriously can't wait for that at all. Octo expansion looks amazing and I know it's gonna be a lot of fun. I've been dying for some more Splatoon anyway.

However, I can't help but feel that it's a bit dissappointing that there wasn't much announced, even though all the announcements were bombshells. I really wish we got a look at Yoshi, a look at Retro Studio's new game, a sneak peak at Metroid Prime 4, or even a new Animal Crossing. However, Nintendo did state the they will be giving more details about games coming next year at a future date, so I can't wait for that. Hopefully then we'll get an Animal Crossing tease.

The only other thing I'd like to note is that I feel that Smash may of taken a bit too long, with how much detail it went into. I'm sure some will appreciate it more than I do though.

I can't complain though. I'm stoked for Super Mario Party and Octo Expansion, and Smash looks fantastic. We also got the announcement of Fortnite coming to Switch today, which was a nice touch that I'm sure will help attract more people to the Switch.

So although this presentation had some hiccups in my view and I thought more could've been shown, I thought it was alright. It did what it was supposed to do and it was executed really well. I suppose the Direct format is really paying off for Nintendo.

(Personal) Rating: B+